MFW - Would you please share your favorites?

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MFW - Would you please share your favorites?

Unread post by kellybell » Wed Feb 08, 2006 7:28 pm

Guest wrote:I am sooooo interested in MFW but then there are a few other curriculums that tempt me also. I would love to hear from you-the users of MFW what you like most about MFW. What keeps you with it. I do not want to continue switching curriculums. I want to find something and stick with it.

I guess my main concerns are ease of use, it being meaty enough and my lack of being crafty! So, if you don't mind I would really appreciate you sharing with me what you love about MFW!! Thank you so much
Favorites from K,1,ECC, CTG

Let's see, the two issues you brought up...

Is it meaty? At first glance, the K and 1 programs might appear to be a little slow, but really they get the job done in less time than fancier programs with lots of flash cards, videos, tapes, manipulatives, etc. You'll have time to pursue your child's interests at this age be it ballet, dinosaurs, cooking, or whatever.

For the older years, all I can say is yes it's meaty! It's also fun. Meaty and fun are not mutually exclusive.

I'm not crafty either. I've found that the projects, recipes, and crafts in the MFW books are very doable and most use normal stuff. With ECC, where you study different countries, often a choice of crafts is presented, so pick what you are comfortable with. And, the crafts are memorable. It's been two years since we did the Japanese fish prints (we did them on white tee shirts) and the kids still wear these shirts quite regularly! Good thing I bought the shirts big!

Here's what I like, in no particular order...

1. Emphasis on Bible and character. Lots of opportunities to discuss God's hand in history, etc. Focus on cultures that don't (generally) know God as well as those that are much poorer than we are has been a big impact on my family.
2. Great balance of "work" and hands-on stuff. I'm personally turned off by traditional textbook programs and overwhelmed by many unit studies that are one project after the other.
3. Right amount of work for kids to do. Not too much, not too little.
4. The projects incorporated in the program are fun, not too involved.
5. Book basket works!
6. All four of the programs that we've used so far (K,1,ECC, CTG) have been really age-appropriate. Things aren't babyish nor are elementary aged kids asked to do things way over their heads. Some curricula seem so ... basic or something. And, others seem to ask unreasonable things of young kids (maybe learning how to conjugate Latin verbs) and I wonder if this is for the pride of the parents so that they can say what Junior is doing in school when the in-laws ask...
7. Recommended books haven't disappointed me. Most books are 100% fine and the rare books that have evolutionary, "witch" or "fairy" content are pointed out so families can avoid those passages or be ready to discuss them. It's a nice balance of Christian and secular books. We want the kids to know the world that they live in (which is secular) but be grounded in their faith.
8. Availability of the Hazells. I've spoken with David on the phone a few times. If you've got a question, usually the moms on the boards can answer you but if not, the Hazells, who are farther down this homeschooling path than we are, can help out.
9. Little prep time for mom! Yippee. It's all figured out and presented in a nice grid (see home page for samples). All you need to do is read a few comments (usually a paragraph or two) before the day starts. And, there's a list of needed stuff for science or activities actually written at the top of the week's comments. So, you can turn to next week's page and see that you need vinegar and baking sode and you pick those up the next time you go to the store...
10. Won't break the bank. The Hazells considered that most of us are one-income families that aren't rich. The books that make up the packages are usually low cost paperbacks that pack a lot of punch. When I saw the homemade geography game in ECC I was sold... Another example is Spelling Power. While it's an expensive book, you use it year after year with all your kids! That's much cheaper than purchasing $15 workbooks (and perhaps matching teacher manuals) for four kids for six years.
11. Less is more when it comes to teaching. For example, the language lesson books end up being $7 a year (assuming you use them with one kid and then throw them away -- use them with multiple kids and sell them when you are done and you're looking at a dollar or two a year for that part of your curriculum). Similarly, the kindergarten program does a great job of teaching basic phonics without a lot of bells and whistles. And, it's quicker to teach per day!
12. A light day each week for the upper level schedules. This allows you to stay on track even if you are part of a weekly co-op, etc. Not a problem!
13. Profits from MFW sales go towards Bible translation work. That's neat.
14. Sane language arts program. Many of my homeschooling buddies are pulling out their hair when their second grader forgets what a conjunction or an adverb is. With MFW, kids are introduced to these concepts throughout elementary school and then, when they are developmentally ready (middle school), are hit with a grammar course.
15. It's new enough that there aren't dozens of families in our area doing the same thing at the same time. This means I can get some good octopus, or China, or Nile River books from the library when I need.
16. There are not too many required books (those are the ones you purchase and they are the ones in the "grids" of the TMs). But there are lots of recommended books. These are the ones you get from the library and it's no big deal if the library doesn't have them. You don't have to buy tons of books.

There are a lot of good programs out there and many people are very happy with them... But, MFW has really fit with our family. We're learning, having fun, and not burning out with it.

Of course, I trust you are posting to the other curricula's boards too asking them the same thing.
Kelly, wife to Jim since 1988, mom to Jamie (a girl, 1994), Mary (1996), Brian (1998) and Stephanie (2001).


Unread post by cbollin » Wed Feb 08, 2006 8:07 pm

Favorites from: ECC and Pre K, CTG and K, RTR and 1st

Oh the many ways I like MFW…(well, everything KellyBell just said works for me.)

In no special order
1. Age appropriateness! And ease to adjust up and down among siblings.

2. Ease of use -- there are days that my oldest (currently 4th grade) is working more independently using the teacher's manual (for those times that I have to be with the toddler) and she can follow the instructions. (She is not ready to do it all by herself with all of the history. It is not THAT easy. In other words, it is not below her ability.)

3. Content. It is "meaty" -- yes, but it is not overboard in the early years. I don't think that I'm trying to teach a college level course to my elementary age students. There is still time to let my young children be young.

4. Written by a homeschooling family for home schooling families. This is a big point with me. MFW is designed so that you can learn together as a family.

5. Author has background in speech therapy and special education. So I guessed that she understands teaching all kinds of learners.

6. My kids like the activities. I like that the activities are quick and easy for the most part. Most supplies are stuff I’d buy at a grocery store or discount retailer, with the occasional art supply store.

7. Complete curriculum -- not just phonics (MFW 1st grade), or just history (upper level programs). It is all in there so I don't have to add to their suggestions. I have really enjoyed the "extras" (like art, classical music, fun activities, science) and the fact that I didn't have to think about what to add -- which is a nice benefit in those early years of home schooling. I no longer feel like I "have" to add additional programs. It took me a few years to realize it, however.

8. I love that there are ways that are easier for my dh to be involved with it too. In the evening he can do some of the read alouds or little games without exhausting him at the end of a day too.

9. I like that the library lists and whole idea around book basket.

10. It continues to work in my real world even with juggling a special needs preschooler in the mix. And that we still have time to do other stuff outside of school.

Why have I not switched since 2003: Well, first of all, I truly believe God put MFW in my hands. There's lots of good stuff out there. I wanted an overall curriculum that taught history chronologically, starting with Creation. Used more "gentle" techniques of learning (i.e. Charlotte Mason ideas). Used library books that I could pick and decide which to use. Most importantly -- had a missions focus in the early years.

Here's my crazy story of introduction to MFW.
I went to the convention that year not ever knowing this program existed. I rounded a corner feeling lost, looking for Geography, or a vendor that sold missions biographies, and praying for direction. I must have had a strange look on my face because this vendor just looked at me and asked if I was ok. I told him what I was looking for (from the above paragraph). I stopped in mid sentence at one point, pushed this vendor out of my way and pointed at the sign for the Exploring Countries and Cultures. I remember saying something like "I'm looking for this!"

Got home, and found it so easy to start and use. The introduction in the TM gives great suggestions for use of the program. I of course tried to do too much with my then 8 y.o. So I went back to the intro of the TM and follow their suggestions for younger students.

Don't know if that really answers any of your questions, but I enjoy telling
those real stories. Thanks for listening.


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Unread post by momof3nKS » Wed Feb 08, 2006 8:25 pm

Favorites from 3 years with MFW

For us, it has just worked. This is our 3rd year using MFW, and it definitely has clicked for both me and the kiddos. We have found our niche...and to me, that is sometimes half the battle--finding something that works for you. I don't plan on switching curriculums.

mom to dd 9, ds 7, and dd 5
CTG for 2007-08 school year
have used: K, 1st, Adv, ECC

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Unread post by SandKsmama » Wed Feb 08, 2006 11:38 pm

Favorites from K and ECC

I'm a first year user of MFW (and a first year homeschooler) BUT, I've looked at curriculums for 6 years, ever since my now 9.5 year old was preschool age. I have no intentions on changing to something else.

I knew the first time I read over the website, that MFW just fit exactly what I was looking for in a curriculum. I wanted the choronological history and the Latin roots - but wasn't too excited about going gung-ho into classical education. I LOVE a lot of Charlotte Mason's ideas such as learning from "living books", not just dry "dead" textbooks, having short lessons, and learning from nature - so the fact that those things are incorporated in MFW too just thrilled me. And I have always been drawn to unit studies - but I am WAY too disorganized to come up with my own.

What else? I love the literature included, but I'm also really glad that there are a variety of activities. Science experiments (so far, they've all been easy enough that *I* could do them too - I am so not science oriented:-), arts and crafts (again, not overwhelming and hard...many times I can get my kids started and they do it themselves...cuz I"m not crafty either LOL), nature walks again. I have 2 kids who are VERY different in personality and learning style and MFW really fits both of their needs.

Two other things - MFW is VERY teacher/mom friendly. I have 3 children ages 9.5, 5, and 2.5, so I don't have all the time in the world to do lesson plans and preparation. I love that even if I don't have time to do a lot of prep for that week's lesson - I can literally pick up the lesson plan book and go. I already mentioned that I'm organizationally challenged - MFW is so really has made the transition to homeschooling easy for me.

We are doing the K program and the ECC and both my kids are challenged, without being overwhelmed. It's not over their heads, but they do have to work.

Last thing is a minor issue, but one that I appreciated a bunch! I love that MFW is so affordable. Our budget is tight, but you get SO much for your money with MFW...well, well worth it.

Amanda, Wife to a great guy since '99, SAHM to 4 fabulous kids! DD(7/96), DS(1/01), DD(8/03), and baby DS (3/09)!
Used MFW K, 1st, ECC, CTG, RTR, Ex1850, and currently using 1850-Modern!

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Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2005 9:26 am

Unread post by LSH in MS » Thu Feb 09, 2006 10:14 am

My favorite things:

The ability to teach the older children and a younger child how to read at the same time.

The wonderful library list! Not assigning too many read alouds, but having choices on the list for various ages if I want to read more to them.

Teacher's manual ease of use.

Book basket is instilling in my children a love of learning.

Including all subjects except language arts and math. I like choosing my own in those areas

wife to Clifford, mother to ds (17), ds (16), ds (15, ds (13), ds (8), and ds (3)
MFW user for 10 years

Heather (WI)
Posts: 49
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 8:02 pm

Unread post by Heather (WI) » Sun Feb 12, 2006 7:51 pm

As for our favorite things about MFW (in addition to what's been written):

~easy to use, yet challenging for the kids

~perfect balance of reading, projects, writing

~lighter 5th day most weeks, to allow for "catch up", nature study, electives, co-ops, etc. (as desired)

~incorporates everything I ever wanted in a curriculum: unit studies (subjects relate to each other for better retention), Charlotte Mason (short, gentle lessons, narration, nature study, art, music appreciation, etc.), as well as being totally BIBLICALLY focused AND mission-minded (in response to Christ's call to us in the Great Commission)!!

Just a short note: We found and started ECC last year and it was working great!! But Mom (me) got restless and looked at another curriculum. WELL, after a few months of Mom having to work SUPER hard at planning these elaborate unit studies and getting burned out quickly, after prayer and consideration, we jumped back into MFW with both feet!! I have been SOOOOO... HAPPY (and so much less stressed) ever since. I have no plans to ever switch curriculums again until we finish everything MFW has to offer!!
Love in Christ,
Heather (WI)
MFW user since 2004:
and starting Ex-1850 in Aug. 2008!!

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Unread post by kfrench » Sun Feb 12, 2006 11:35 pm

--THe most important thing is my kids love it and the remember what they learn. They look forward to it every day.
--It has just the right amount of work to learn but not burn them out. We can finish school by 1 pm and enjoy doing all the other things we want to do.
--My kids love learning the bible and character and love learning to read by reading bible stories.
--My k can finish her worksheets and thinks school is great. My older dd that didn't to MFWK is very jelous that her sister gets such fun school. My dd did the kill with drill K and she didn't get it because she was not ready no matter how they drilled it the drill actually turned her off to reading because school was long and tedious and a bunch of worksheets.
--My Kids learn to gether and enjoy doing projects together.
--Did I mention that I also look forward to school because everything is spelled out and hands on things are simple and we actually do them. My kids can usually do them on their own once I read the desciption of what to do.


Unread post by Guest » Mon Feb 13, 2006 8:49 am

Favorites from 1st

Just to add one thing to all of the well-written above posts:

I am of the personality that I want to do EVERYTHING in a teaching manual....if I don't accomplish that, a sort of uneasiness covers me.

I am only using MFW1st grade right now, but I can easily finish EVERYTHING in the TM! It makes me feel good...and when Mom is happy, the kids are happier, too. I haven't once had that feeling of being behind and because it is very "do-able" this prompts me to be diligent about doing the daily lessons.

If you haven't yet read For the Children's Sake (MFW sells this), I would highly suggest it. It really helped me to understand the Charlotte Mason way. I think I could read it 20 times and glean new and helpful info. each and every time.


This is a great thread!!

Unread post by Guest » Tue Feb 14, 2006 8:31 am

Favorites from 1st

I love the TM. It is so easy to understand and use. I can tell that ALOT of work has gone into creating a program that is enjoyable for the children but truly "gets the job done." There hasn't been anything that I would change as far as how it is all laid out and integrated together.

I have found MFW 1st to be very easy to teach. I do very little planning ahead. I try to read a bit ahead with the reading lists so I can get books from the library but that's about it.

MFW has saved me money. I love being able to use the library for our books rather than having to buy everything up front. We go to the library once every two weeks. I consider this school time because my son knows we are going there to get books to go with MFW. We always come home with a stack of ten or more. OK - wordy way to say that I love having the reading list in the TM.

The activities are fun for my son and again, easy for me. Very simple so I don't usually skip them. You don't have to be creative or crafty to use the activities. That fear kept me from using MFW for awhile. Also, I thought activities were not important. My son is an auditory learner so it seemed really unimportant. But, he loves the activities.

My son is being ministered to through this curriculum. Like all moms, I sometimes find or hear about other things we could use next year. A couple of weeks ago, I asked him about us going back to our old curriculum, and told him about a Science curriculum I had seen that looked GREAT! He is a huge science nut and quite gifted in that area. I thought he would be thrilled and we'd just skip one little year of MFW and go back. Both times, his bottom lip quivered and he said, "oh, no, oh, no... please don't change." In fact, he even said he would NOT do school at all if he couldn't use MFW.

So, these are the main things I love: ease of use, very thoroughly planning, the reading lists, and my son is enjoying learning. The amount of work has been just right for us. He is reading very well, learning lots of Biblical content, and happy. I could not be more pleased.

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Re: Favorite Year?

Unread post by courthart246 » Sat Apr 04, 2009 8:38 pm

ChristyH wrote:Does anyone have a favorite year or a year your children really liked? What made it a favorite?
I've done K, 1st, Adventures, ECC and CTG and my favorite is......all of them! I guess I have especially loved K and Adventures, oh and ECC. Wow! How does one pick? This is just a great curriculum each year. Looking forward to RTR in the fall.
Married 20 Years to Jamie
Loving MFW along with my three kids:
ds - 16 (World History and Literature)
ds - 13 (Exploration to 1850)
dd - 10 (Exploration to 1850)

Posts: 87
Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2006 10:27 pm

Re: Favorite Year?

Unread post by TammyB » Sat Apr 04, 2009 10:10 pm

I've done K, 1st, Adv, and ECC. Adventures is definitely my favorite so far. We just loved the history and geography portions. :)

Michele in WA
Posts: 31
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 5:40 pm

Re: Favorite Year?

Unread post by Michele in WA » Sat Apr 04, 2009 10:36 pm

We've done all the years up to where we are now in Ex-1850. Every time I start K I just love it!! (I'll be doing it for the 5th time this September!) But over all I'd have to say that my favorite in the 5 year schedule is ECC. I think it's because I love the missions aspect of it. We loved the missionary stories, and the whole focus MFW puts on the need of the whole world to see the Love of Christ and know of His salvation. To me, that is why we homeschool... or at least a really big part of it! To first point our kids to Christ, and then teach them to point others to Him. I'm really looking forward to doing ECC again in two years!
Married to my best friend, Mom to 7 great kids
MFW since 2001
2010/2011~ 1st grade and ECC

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Re: Favorite Year?

Unread post by KimberlyND » Sun Apr 05, 2009 9:00 am

We have only done 1st and ADV although I have the K program and will start my dd when she is 5. I have to say I love ADV and can't imagine a better year than this. It's good to hear from others that it is hard to choose a favorite year. What I love about ADV is how Bible centered it is. We are studying the different names of Jesus. Then the science and sometimes the read a louds will tie into the Bible study! Also I love that it only takes around 2 1/2 hours for my wiggly son to finish his school work for the day.
Kimberly in ND
MFW user since 2007, gone through K, 1st, ADV, ECC, CtG, RtR, Exp. to 1850, & 1850 to Modern Times
Using ECC 2014-2015 with an 8th grade son and 4th grade daughter
Have been HS for 19 years and graduated 3 dc.


Re: Favorite Year?

Unread post by cbollin » Sun Apr 05, 2009 11:14 am

Choosing a favorite year that I've done in MFW? I've used it them except high school and ADV as a full program.

I really liked them all. I've done ECC twice and liked it both times. We loved year 5 last year. year 4 wasa year that was good. RTR was a good year. CTG was a year of trusting God. 1st grade -- I get to do it again. Pre K. I even enjoyed how God used that program. We've seen really good stuff in the Kindy program with our youngest. too many good warm fuzzy memories here. Lots of growth in academic and spiritual lessons over the years. I'm very thankful to be using MFW. Each year has its unique favorite parts. Each year has some rough spots too. The question is just as hard to answer as the one where someone asks which kid is my favorite.


Postby cbollin » Sat Apr 17, 2010 10:31 pm

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Re: Favorite Year?

Unread post by KellyinPA » Sun Apr 05, 2009 3:03 pm

We've only done K, 1st and ADV so far ( I am in awe of those of you who have gone through the cycle and are using it again with your youngers, I think that really says something about MFW!) Anyhow, I've loved each year as we've gone through them and then (like right about now ;) )am eagerly looking forward to our next year.
MFW K, 1st, ADV
ECC 2009/2010

Julie in MN
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Location: Minnesota

Re: Favorite Year?

Unread post by Julie in MN » Sun Apr 05, 2009 6:46 pm

ECC was my favorite because it changed my son's idea of what a hero is. Oh, and I loved that we really did nature walks.

CTG was my favorite because it brought my whole family together in the Bible.

RTR was my favorite because it had so many things for *parents* in book basket; oh, and such interesting information, from church martyrs to Shakespeare. And I think it was my favorite science year.

EX1850 was my favorite because I finally could keep the huge topic of American history straight in my mind, not to mention kings & queens etc, and we still got to enjoy all the fun stuff out there about early Americana.

1850MOD is now my favorite because we loved learning where the 50 states are on a blank map using songs & games, and because the rest is still all new to us!

Postby Julie in MN » Sun Apr 18, 2010 3:38 pm
I think I probably love ECC the most, but love each for different reasons.

I just asked ds and he said he probably liked CTG the most, but he's not sure.

Last edited by Julie in MN on Tue Apr 07, 2009 7:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

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Re: Favorite Year?

Unread post by amelasky » Mon Apr 06, 2009 10:31 am

My favorite year....


whatever year we are working on! I say that seriously. It seems that God supplies EXACTLY what we need through each year of curriculum. We have loved each year and my daughter has developed a love for her Bible. She is much more sensitive to what God's Word says that I ever dreamed possible at this age. What a joy it has been to teach using MFW.
Married to my best friend and high school sweetheart for 18years. Blessed momma to my princess (14) and little warrior (10).
Exploration to 1850

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Which MFW Program Do You Like Best?

Unread post by KimberlyND » Sun Apr 18, 2010 10:56 am

microcarter wrote:For those of you who have used several different MFW studies, I would love to hear which you & your children enjoyed the most & why. I am mostly wondering about the 5 year cycle - ECC, CTG, RTR, Ex to 1850, 1850 to Mod.

We have used ECC & CTG so far & will use RTR this fall. Even though I have liked both programs, I think that I enjoyed ECC the most even though I wish I had been a little better prepared. Really looking forward to RTR in the fall!
So far, we have only used 1st, Adv., and ECC though we do have CtG and K for next fall. Each year I think that the next year's curriculum can't possibly be as good as the one we are just finishing. Then I find that it is. I would have to say my favorite year would be the one that I am doing, meaning that I like each year best as I am doing it. I hope that makes sense. With that answer I'm glad I don't have to choose.
Kimberly in ND
MFW user since 2007, gone through K, 1st, ADV, ECC, CtG, RtR, Exp. to 1850, & 1850 to Modern Times
Using ECC 2014-2015 with an 8th grade son and 4th grade daughter
Have been HS for 19 years and graduated 3 dc.

Posts: 92
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2007 1:52 pm

Re: Which MFW Program Do You Like Best?

Unread post by 705emily » Sun Apr 18, 2010 9:01 pm

So far I've liked ECC the best. Done K twice, 1st twice, Adventures, and now ECC. I just got our CtG box. My mom was born in Vienna to Jewish parents. She was orphaned as a result of WW2, and so was not raised Jewish--but the feasts will put our family in touch with her side of the family--which I know so little about. I am sure that learning about the feasts will also give us a much greater appreciation for Jesus!
Irmi Gaut
MFW K, MFW 1, Adventures, ECC this year!

'And my God shall supply ALL your needs according to his riches in Glory!'

Posts: 120
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Re: Which MFW Program Do You Like Best?

Unread post by SandKsmama » Mon Apr 19, 2010 8:04 pm

That's like asking me my favorite child:-) EVERY year, I wind up saying "I think this year is our favorite!" LOL We have done the entire 5 year cycle now (as well as MFW K (twice) and MFW 1st grade). I think I have the most great memories from RTR. I just loved everything about that year.

I just asked my 13 year old which one was her favorite, and she said it was close between what we're doing now (1850-Modern), and CTG, but CTG wins because she loved studying so much Biblical history.
Amanda, Wife to a great guy since '99, SAHM to 4 fabulous kids! DD(7/96), DS(1/01), DD(8/03), and baby DS (3/09)!
Used MFW K, 1st, ECC, CTG, RTR, Ex1850, and currently using 1850-Modern!

Posts: 38
Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2007 7:05 am
Location: Maine

Re: Which MFW Program Do You Like Best?

Unread post by TNLisa » Thu Apr 22, 2010 8:17 pm

We were already in our second year of homeschooling before God showed me MFW. I have many, many testimonies of how God brought MFW to us and confirmed over and over again that we were to use the curriculum. With that said, ECC is my favorite!!! It was our first year in MFW - at the beginning of the term part of the "assignment" is to begin to pray about where God might send our family, or how we might serve Him...we ended up on a missions trip in Honduras at the end of the school year! It was an amazing year in so many ways as we studied the different countries and cultures - praying for each one - and learning to love God's people even more. It was the first year in our homeschool journey that everything "fit" for both my children. It was the year that I grew as a mom/teacher realizing even more that God's plan is so much bigger and better than I could ever possibly dream. And it was the year that I trusted Him completely by saying "yes" to MFW; letting go of my own agenda (that wasn't working!!!).

We've since done CtoG and currently finishing up RtoR --- which both have been incredible! But my heart will always look back on ECC with thankfulness and awe at how God drew our family to Him.
Homeschooling since 2005!

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